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I Don’t Know How to Feel

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

On December 11th, Destiny Gray curated her first art show entitled, "IDK How 2 Feel". This tribute was a brilliant and profound way to deal with trauma.


One morning just recently, my daughter Destiny called and I could hear by her monotone, and single word responses that she needed cheering. We continued to make small talk, shortly after our typical morning salutation and common questions of well being, I challenged her to begin the new year with me journaling. I recalled during the pandemic, Destiny used this method and was able to accomplish so many wonderful things. It is my belief that journaling is a map for the brain granting it permission to bring to pass the ideas and dreams you have the courage to pen. When journaling, the paper nor pen has a bias or judgement on whether your dreams or plans for a better future are attainable. They are obedient servants to capture your thoughts and hold them there until fruition and fulfillment are inevitable.

When journaling, the paper nor pen has a bias or judgement on whether your dreams or plans for a better future are attainable.

During my conversation with my daughter I suggested that she schedule time for happiness in her journaling. Something about that statement prompted me to write it down so that it became embedded in my subconscious mind. I encouraged her to do the same. "Schedule time for happiness Destiny. Why? Because it gives you something to look forward to. Additionally, it is a purposeful appointment for self care and allows you to make yourself, your contentment and happiness a priority. It is a reminder on the calendar of life that you matter, that your happiness matters. Schedule time for happiness".

I don't ever take her happiness and peace of mind for granted this time of year during the holidays without her brother. Destiny is my sole surviving child and her life as a sibling who lost her brother to murder is often times inbleak during the holiday season. Curtis' birthday is wedged snuggly between Thanksgiving and Christmas and this year the finality of his death was particularly difficult. December 11, 2022 marked his 22nd birthday, and as per our tradition of commemorating his life, I celebrated with her at her first curated art show "IDK How 2 Feel".

The benefits of journaling

In the "IDK How 2 Feel" art showing, the featured artists were able to capture their emotions through digital print, painting, sculpting and texture and transform those emotions as an artistic expression. Journaling is a way to also capture emotions in written form that has healing benefits as it creates a safe place to transform the emotions of the heart in written form. Journaling allows one to visibly see what emotions are embedded in the mind and heart and can help sort through process of dealing with them once it is in tangible form. In essence, journaling is a carthotic way to promote healing and recovery after loss, trauma, and emotional displacement. Writing your feelings is helpful when navigating healing and mental wellness. (#journaling #happiness #mentalwellness, #healing)

How will you move forward in your present in spite of your challenges? When you begin journaling remember it is your truth and your guide for the life you want to live and create. Don't forget to schedule happiness (whatever that may look like). For me it was enjoying quietness with a guiltless indulgence of (gluten-free, dairy free, plant-based sugar) unbelievably rich and chocolaty german chocolate cake perfectly paired with freshly brewed Americano in a small cozy cafe in a neighboring town.

You have to determine what your slice of happiness looks like and schedule it as part of your self-care. When you don't know how to feel, put it on paper to help you see it, and create a plan for your emotions. Here's to a healthy awakening to healing one journaling at a time!

Carmen A. Gray

Copyright (c) 2023. All rights reserved.



Carmen A. Gray is a sought-after Keynote Speaker and Trainer with over 20 years of experience in the US and abroad.  She has developed several creative workshop platforms over the years and has hosted many conferences to drive intended results among attendees looking for measurable outcomes in personal growth and leadership development.  Ms. Gray is not a stranger to the public eye, she has been featured on many platforms in local, national, and global news and has served in community outreach initiatives through the local church and other endeavors both in the US, Africa, and Haiti.  She’s traveled to seven different countries with a broad acceptance of people, diversities, and cultures.

Ms. Gray is the mother of two beautiful children, Destiny Gray and her slain son, Curtis Israel Gray whose life was violently taken on April 13, 2019.  As a result of his death, Carmen founded the non-profit organization, LLC Rise Above the Violence, Inc., in her son’s name that will serve communities impacted by violence through a prevention program to educate communities and their youth on positive mental health as well as how to heal in the aftermath of a crisis. 

In memory of her son, Curtis Israel Gray, and the ultimate commitment Carmen made to him to “Be Great”, a slogan he coined and held her to several days before he died, Carmen has combined her creative talents with her strong leadership skills to spearhead the effort to be great in his name.  She will continue the legacy he began using the model he left behind to help youth maintain positive mental health.  Curtis was a talented student-athlete in both football and track and field. Ms. Gray believes that if she continues the race against violence in Curtis’ name, through mental health awareness and education, other youth will have the opportunity to “be great” as well.

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